|Already High||Already High|| |
|When I Stop Crying||JT Hodges|| |
|Sleepy Little Town||JT Hodges|| |
|Goodbyes Made You Mine||JT Hodges|| |
|Lay It Down||Lay It Down|| |
|Hunt You Down||JT Hodges|| |
|Joy To The World||Joy To The World|| |
|Green Eyes Red Sunglasses||JT Hodges|| |
|Rather Be Wrong Than Lonely||JT Hodges|| |
|Rhythm Of The Radio||JT Hodges|| |
In 2011, Love and Theft moved to RCA Records Nashville and released the single "Angel Eyes", which became their first number 1 single. It and the Top 40 singles "Runnin' Out of Air" and "If You Ever Get Lonely" all appear on their second, self-titled album.
Enter David Nail. With Sinatra-like levels of poise and class, the rare gifts of natural melody and soul, and a voice as enveloping as a Cumberland River fog, the Missouri native is a modern-day country gentleman. He’s Jim Reeves crossed with Elton John. Garth Brooks meets Stevie Wonder. Glen Campbell blended with Michael Bublé.
The musical result of those mash-ups is a rich sound that hearkens back to Nashville’s Countrypolitan days, when artists like Campbell—one of David’s heroes—added a dash of sophistication to country music.
“My father was a band director for 31 years and he listened to all sorts of music, including a lot of old-school Elton John. I just loved the big, lush feel of those records,” David explains. “Glen Campbell was a huge influence on me for the same reason: the arrangements, the elaborate production, the dramatic songs. Those influences all come out in what I do.”
This is specifically true on David’s vibrant new album, The Sound of a Million Dreams. “A lot of the sounds that I try to emulate and use for inspiration are from a time when pop music was called that because it was popular,” David says. “And who doesn’t want to have popular music?”
The Sound of a Million Dreams is Nail’s follow-up to 2009’s I’m About to Come Alive, which yielded the Top Ten hit “Red Light” and was also listed by Esquire Magazine as one of 50 Songs Every Man Should Be Listening To. David also received an Academy of Country Music nomination for Single Record of the Year for “Red Light.” Furthermore, Nail scored a Grammy nomination for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for “Turning Home.”
Much like I’m About to Come Alive, The Sound of a Million Dreams is cinematic in its scope, with lyrics and melodies awash in imagery. In the evocative “That’s How I’ll Remember You,” it’s snapshots of baseball-game dates in Brooklyn with an ex-lover. In the swirling “She Rides Away,” the titular girlfriend makes tracks in a rusty El Camino. And in the album’s yearning first single “Let It Rain,” a contrite husband seeks forgiveness for “the one night I forgot to wear that ring."
“Imagery is so much a part of what draws me to the songs I record. I pick songs with cities in their lyrics or the names of girls because I want you to know exactly where I’m coming from and what I’m talking about,” says David. “I love painting those pictures.”
And with the album’s title track, he just may have painted a masterpiece. Written by Scooter Carusoe and Phil Vassar, “The Sound of a Million Dreams” expertly sums up David’s belief in the power of music, namely the power of a song, to create memories. It references classics by Seger, Springsteen and Haggard, all pegged to different milestones in the narrator’s life.
Nail connected with the message so deeply that he chose “The Sound of a Million Dreams” to represent the album.
“I’ve always felt that an album’s title was the most important thing besides the music. It automatically gives someone an idea of what to expect,” says David. “If you had to tell the story of me to this point, that song really sums it up.”
But the lyrics on The Sound of a Million Dreams, whether David’s or those of his co-writers, only tell part of the story. The rest unfolds thanks to David’s incomparable voice. Bourbon-smooth, full of emotion and always in control, it’s an instrument in and of itself. And the singer-songwriter knows when to let it loose or rein it in.
“I don’t want somebody to think I’m a great singer because I can sing a Stevie Wonder hit and do all the licks,” he says modestly. “With this record, I wanted to find the best songs that I could sing as best as I can, but at the same time, songs that I could sing effortlessly. And by ‘effortlessly,’ I mean emotionally, not technically. There’s a difference between singing a song on key, and singing a song that makes a person instantly feel something.”
Still, David views the album as a stepping stone of sorts—he hopes his recorded work will draw listeners out to his live show, where the real vocal magic happens. While recording The Sound of a Million Dreams, he paid close attention to how the songs might sound when performed live. It was a pivotal difference from the way he and co-producer Frank Liddell structured I’m About to Come Alive, and an approach partially adopted from being on the road with Jason Aldean and Lady Antebellum. (Lady A’s Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, incidentally, contribute a song to the album, the soaring “I Thought You Knew,” co-written with David and Monty Powell.)
“I had the chance to see some bigger productions and the art of putting on a show,” David says of those high-profile tours. “I learned how songs are so much bigger live and I had that in the back of mind while making this record. When people hear these songs, they’ll anticipate how grand they’re going to sound onstage.” This is proved with the album opener “Grandpa’s Farm,” a sultry honky-tonk shuffle that is equal parts Little Feat and the Rolling Stones.
Ironically, the record’s first song could end up being David’s concert closer.
“That’ll be a song that you wouldn’t want to follow with another,” he declares. “With ‘Grandpa’s Farm,’ we’d leave as big as an exclamation point as we can.”
The same can be said for The Sound of a Million Dreams as a whole. It’s a definitive statement that David Nail has arrived and is committed to releasing his brand of mature country music—songs that are built around personal stories, transcendent vocals and a sense of class.
“That will always be the basis of what I do on a record and what I try to do live. If you’re looking to get rowdy and hear a lot of screaming and hollering, you’ll be disappointed,” he says with a laugh. “This record yields a different kind of enjoyment. And there are all kinds of songs. It really does epitomize the sound of a million dreams.”
And for fans of sophisticated country music, it’s a million dreams come true.
This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.
Houser’s own past contains no shortage of achievement, including multiple nominations for ACM and CMA Awards, a #2 single in the form of “Boots On,” and songwriting credits for major names such as Trace Adkins, Justin Moore and Chris Young. In 2008—mere months after the release of his debut single, “Anything Goes”—Houser was even asked by David Letterman himself to appear on the Late Show. The singer’s first full-length, Anything Goes, came out later that year, followed in 2010 by They Call Me Cadillac.
And yet despite this early success, Houser now admits that he wasn’t truly happy. “It seemed like professionally things weren’t as great as they could be, and that was part of it,” he says. “But the biggest thing was not having a homebase. I needed an anchor.” He found one last year when he married his wife, Jessa. “All of a sudden it was like I had this piece that had been missing,” he says with audible gratitude. Another piece—son West Yantz Houser—arrived this past spring, as did a crisp new look and a pact with Stoney Creek Records.
“Everybody there feels like part of my family,” Houser says of the independent imprint, where he happily signed following a long stretch of intensive touring. (How intensive? Think 150 shows a year.) “You walk in the door and everybody seems really happy with their job; there’s no strife in the air. That’s really important for me to have right now. It’s comforting.”
Those positive vibes ripple through “How Country Feels,” the sparkling first single from Houser’s upcoming Stoney Creek debut, which he’s currently cutting with producer Derek George, a fellow Mississippian Houser’s been wanting to work with for a decade. “It was the obvious choice for a leadoff,” Houser says of “How Country Feels.” “It caught my ear the first time I heard it—like, ‘I wanna hear that again.’”
Other new tracks echo the single’s sunny self-assurance, including “We’re Just Growing Younger” and “Along for the Ride,” which Houser co-wrote with Zac Brown. “We were playing a festival and I just had this song rolling around in my head,” Houser remembers of the latter. “I stayed up till about 5 in the morning but then got stuck. So I called up Zac and we went on his bus and knocked it out of the park.”
There is contemplation, too: “Like a Cowboy” is about “me coming home for a few days, then having to leave again,” Houser says, while “Route 3 Box 250D” provides an intimate snapshot of the singer’s upbringing. “That one’s kind of hard to listen to,” he admits. “It hits almost too close to home.”
As for the album’s sound, Houser says it’s shaping up as his most expansive outing yet, with more bells and whistles than he’s used in the past; it also showcases the remarkable voice that led Vince Gill to call Houser “one of the best in the new crop of country singer-songwriters” and caused his pal Jamey Johnson to say, “I watched a blind man jump to his feet and drop his crutches the first time he heard Randy Houser sing.”
Still, the heart of the album—of Houser’s entire outlook right now—remains the story of a man who’s moved through darkness into light. “I feel like I’ve reached such a special moment,” he says, and it’s a true pleasure to hear him inside it.
He was a contestant on Survivor: Nicaragua, where he was the runner-up to Jud "Fabio" Birza.
Owen has also toured as an opening act for several other country artists, including Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Little Big Town, Sugarland, Keith Urban, and Jason Aldean.
Besides his own material, he has co-written singles for Garth Brooks, Adam Gregory, Eli Young Band, and Tim McGraw. One of Brice's compositions, Brooks's "More Than a Memory", was the first song ever to debut at number 1 on the country charts, while another, Eli Young Band's "Crazy Girl", was the Billboard Year-End top country song of 2011.
His second and third albums, 2003's The Dreamer and 2004's Blake Shelton's Barn & Grill, were each certified gold as well. His fourth album, Pure BS, was re-issued in 2008 with a cover of Michael Bublé's pop hit "Home" as one of the bonus tracks. fifth album, Startin' Fires, which had an appearance by his then-girlfriend Miranda Lambert, was released in November 2008. It was followed by the extended plays Hillbilly Bone and All About Tonight in 2010, and the albums Red River Blue in 2011. Based on a True Story... in 2013, and Bringing Back the Sunshine in 2014. Overall, Blake Shelton has charted 24 country singles, including 11 number ones.
In the world of entertainment, music arguably demands the most personal investment from its artists, and it doesn't get any more intimate than Thompson Square. While most celebrities go to tremendous lengths and expense to carve out personal space in a Twitter-manic, paparazzi-fueled culture, husband and wife Keifer and Shawna Thompson veil no aspects of their relationship. In fact, they put their 13-year marriage on display in each song and, night after night, on tour. Hence, their sophomore album Just Feels Good is a compelling view of a relationship that offers no distinction between the personal and the professional.
"Much more than the first record, Just Feels Good explains exactly who we are," Shawna says. "This is a very personal record." Adds her husband, "It’s a stronger, more accurate representation of who we are and where we’re at right now in our life and our music career ... " and, she finishes, "who we are as artists, who we are as individuals and who we are as a married couple, as well."
Far from the crassness of all-is-bared reality television, a romanticized version of their relationship or a campy veneer, Thompson Square’s music reveals a profound level of honesty for which there may be no precedent. In that light, Just Feels Good might just as accurately be titled "Just Feels Real."
We can try to make it all make sense and say it's all just coincidence
call it luck, but I don't think so.
The assertion that Just Feels Good is actually a more intimate introduction into the psyche of Thompson Square than their self-titled debut is a big statement considering that album's history-making in-roads. Powered by a trio of hit singles including the No. 1 double-platinum-selling "Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not" as well as "I Got You" and "Glass," Thompson Square swept the 2012 Vocal Duo awards (CMA, ACM, CMT, ACA). "Kiss" was the most-heard song at country radio in 2011 (Mediabase), and secured multiple-week runs atop the sales and ringtone charts as well as two GRAMMY nominations. Major media (Leno, Kimmel, Conan and more) and major tours (Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan) put them in front of tens of millions of viewers and two million concert goers. Thompson Square is also the only established married duo to ever receive CMA Vocal Duo of the Year honors.
And despite the promotional pounding and a grueling 250-date-per-year schedule, they managed to create a more grounded and cohesive collection of songs as they went. "This album evolved on its own in a way we weren't even aware of," Keifer says. "That's one of the coolest things about writing, finding songs, recording and going through a process like this. The music takes on a life of its own. When we got done I called Shawna over to look at the list of songs, because it hit me that they actually tell a bigger story about our journey to Nashville, finding each other, making it work, life on the road and everything else. We didn't actually sequence the album that way, but you could. It's us. And it was completely by accident."
That bigger story, which they've told often, is one of Nashville's best-known 10-year overnight successes. Arriving in Music City the same week – Keifer from Miami, Oklahoma, Shawna from Chatom, Alabama – they met almost immediately at a singing competition and have been inseparable since. Realizing their solo aspirations weren't getting any traction, they finally closed the second ring in their marriage-and-music connection. Thompson Square signed as the flagship artist on Stoney Creek Records, and the rest is history.
We've had our share of slamming doors, teardrops falling on the floor.
"Ever since we’ve been married, we’ve always worked together," Shawna says, trying to explain their multilayered success. "I don’t know that the other way would work." Keifer adds, "We actually tried it at the very beginning, and it didn’t. Obviously we fight like everybody else and, when we do, we do it really well. But if we had a choice between being together all the time and not being together, we'd choose the former."
That sense of unity, and the natural struggle implicit in any committed relationship, gives Just Feels Good a deeper well of experience upon which to draw, particularly when writing. "As a married couple duo, you’re a little gun shy about doing certain things, because you don’t want to be coined as the boring married couple," Keifer admits. "And that's just not our lifestyle at all – it’s actually quite the opposite. We grew up in very rural small towns where it's redneck and people like to party. So we stretched the reins with our writing to keep from being painted into a corner."
Shawna and Keifer have credits on six of the album's 13 songs, including the first single "If I Didn't Have You," already their fastest selling AND rising to date. That song's message of a big, even universal, love is echoed in postcard-picture "Maybe It's You" and the rhythmic, who-out-kicked-who debate of "For The Life Of Me."
More playful themes are found in the rollicking romantic interplay of "Everything I Shouldn't Be Thinking About," the fast-paced, recurring relationship saga of "Here We Go Again," the aquatic-romantic metaphor of "Testing The Water” (which even features a rap by Shawna Thompson), the unbridled, glass-raising party anthem "Here's To Being Here" and the sunny-day stroll of the title track. The dramatic, surging power ballad "I Can't Out Run You" and never-say-die "Run" offer divergent takes on that verb. And the deeply personal rises again in the autobiographical "That's So Me And You," an erstwhile mantra for their relationship, the Springsteen-esque "You Don't Get Lucky" and the hypnotically smooth closer "Home Is You."
Sometimes life just smiles down on you and everything works out just right.
For the production of Just Feels Good, Keifer and Shawna once again teamed with New Voice, the four man collective behind their first album. "We intentionally went outside the box a little bit and stretched the Thompson Square sound," Keifer says. Shawna agrees, "We used some different loops and approaches to get what we wanted. And it's very diverse. We were listening the other night and there are a couple of songs that sound really country – more so than a lot of the first album. And then there are songs that sound a little more edgy."
Expanding sonically while drawing close to their core in writing and song selection, Thompson Square have taken the next bold step in one of the most thriving young careers in country music. Having done that while also sustaining one of the most thriving marriages in country music is truly astounding – or maybe it's just their secret ingredient.
"There's growth in terms of the production, we've grown as songwriters and we're more focused," Keifer says. "These last couple years, we've really honed in on what Thompson Square is and how we want to communicate that. It's a fun record, a bit of a roller coaster ride, and there are a lot of emotional turns." Shawna punctuates the statement: "Much like our lives."
As long as you're waking up with me, baby
I don't mind if every night we lay our heads down somewhere new.